December 14, 2020
During the holidays and all year long, millions of individuals and families who struggle against hunger are able to access healthy food with support from the federal nutrition programs. This year, the federal nutrition programs have played a critical role in ensuring people can continue to put food on the table during the twin COVID-19 public health and economic crises.
To celebrate the nation’s nutrition safety net, FRAC has created a seven-part “Remember This December” series that will highlight the impact of seven important federal nutrition programs.
This is the first installment of the series, which focuses on afterschool meals.
The Afterschool Nutrition Programs provide healthy meals and snacks to children to ensure they are fed after school, on weekends, and during school holidays. These programs have been critical during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more about afterschool meals below:
- Afterschool meals matter for children across the country: In October 2019, 1.4 million children received an afterschool supper and just under 1.5 million children received a snack on an average school day. This data was gathered before the COVID-19 crisis, but the afterschool programs have continued to serve children during the crisis.
- Afterschool meal participation is growing: A growing number of children are receiving healthy afterschool meals because more schools, city agencies, private nonprofits, and others are operating the Afterschool Nutrition Programs.
- Afterschool meals are adapting to meet the need during COVID-19. To ensure continued access to afterschool suppers and snacks during COVID-19, USDA has issued and extended nationwide waivers that allow communities to provide afterschool suppers and snacks under the unique circumstances created by the pandemic.
- Afterschool meals fuel children’s minds and bodies: School-aged children have a higher daily intake of fruits, vegetables, milk, and key nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin A, on days they eat afterschool meals compared to days they do not.
- Afterschool meals support the growth of afterschool programs: Afterschool meals and snacks are combined with educational and enrichment activities offered at schools, community and recreation centers, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, and other locations — which keep children safe, learning, and engaged while their parents work. Due to COVID-19, community partners have adapted the ways they serve afterschool meals. For example, food banks are working closely with schools and other partners to fill the gap in afterschool meal access.
- Afterschool meals help to keep children fed all year: Beyond afterschool hours, breakfast, lunch, or supper along with a snack can be served on weekends and during school holidays and breaks to children age 18 and under, even during COVID-19.
Click to tweet: #RememberThisDecember that hunger is solvable with the federal nutrition programs, including the Afterschool Nutrition Programs! Learn more about the impact of afterschool meals this year during #COVID19 w/ @fractweets latest blog: https://bit.ly/2KsICET
Watch our video on the importance of the federal nutrition programs.